By Kaitlyn McCormick
Undergraduate students were alerted of a $1,700 tuition hike and nearly $1,000 of new fees on Tuesday, including a mandatory parking fee of $125 per semester.
The new charges also include a $23-per-credit optional fee for undergraduate students that the university says will save students money on textbooks. Together, these new figures could cost a full-time undergraduate taking the usual 15 credits each semester, with a car, a total of $940 more a year.
In addition, full-time undergraduate tuition is increasing from $36,000 annually to $37,700, with room and board also rising slightly.
The email, sent out by Vice President of Enrollment Management Drew Aromando, detailed the changes that students can expect to see reflected in their bills for this upcoming semester.
While parking permits were previously only a one-time $300 payment for freshmen residents, beginning on Sept. 1 all students who wish to park on campus will be required to purchase a parking permit for either $250 annually or $125 per semester.
The permits will also be subjected to New Jersey sales tax for commuting students and can begin to be purchased in July.
What the permits will fund
According to Aromando’s email, the cash flow from the new fee will “fund parking lot maintenance and upgrades across campus.”
These upgrades include creating over 50 new residential student parking spaces behind Alumni Gym and reconfiguring the staff lot to accommodate the change. Improvements such as pothole repair and the re-pavement and stripping of various areas on campus will also be in place for the start of the fall semester.
The university is planning to add more electric vehicle charging stations and premium spaces over the next academic year as well.
The email also said that the permit fee aligns with the rates of Rider’s peer institutions.
Introducing the Rider First Day program
In addition to the newly required parking payment, all undergraduate students will be automatically enrolled in the Rider First Day program, to ensure students receive their course material “at an affordable rate for the first day of classes.”
The program will not include “consumables,” or materials that can’t be returned, like lab goggles and dissection kits.
Students can expect to see a $23-per-credit fee on their tuition bill, which will be sent out in the second week of July. Full-time undergraduate students can expect to pay $276 – $414 based on their credit load. Students will, however, have the option to opt out between Aug. 7 and Sept. 19, according to the university’s website.
Per the email, participating students save approximately 35-50% on their course materials, and Rider is joining over 100 schools nationwide who participate in the program.
Tuition, Room and Board
In 2020, the university enacted its “Lifting Barriers” initiative with the goal of reducing the university’s tuition sticker price to $35,000 a year.
The plan was not intended to make the university more affordable, rather increase retainment for prospective students intimidated by a high tuition rate. The initiative planned to “personalize the pricing process for students, giving them more transparency and clarity about the real costs for Rider,” according to an article from The Rider News published in September 2020.
Projections from the time of the initiative’s implementation showed that while the sticker price for the university was expected to increase, the net costs for students would stay relatively the same.
The university has seen consistent increases in cost even after freezing tuition for the fall semester in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Just last year, there was a $500 tuition increase per semester.
The cost to live on campus next year is increasing slightly – for example, a standard double is going from $5,115 per semester to $5,215. The Carte Blanche Meal Plan is going from $2,950 per semester to $3,150.
The Rider News will be providing ongoing coverage on heightened fees affecting students university-wide.